Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians

By John R. Swanton | Go to book overview

ALABAMA STORIES

1. ORIGIN OF THE INDIANS

Many Indians once lived far down in the earth where they had been made out of the clay. Half of them decided to come up and began the ascent. As it was dark where they were they procured pine torches and fastened them on their horses. They camped four times on the journey and then came out at noon into the bright sunshine. They were very glad to get out and find a good place on the firm ground in which to camp.


2. ORIGIN OF THE ALABAMA INDIANS

Formerly the ocean was not as large as it is to-day, and at that time the Alabama Indians, who lived upon the other side, came westward across it in canoes. When they had gotten about halfway over they came upon an island where they rested and fished. Then they resumed their journey and presently reached this land.

At first they lived upon acorns, and they also roasted and ate cane sprouts. Later they made bows and arrows with which to kill deer, and having nothing with which to cut up the meat they used sharp rocks. They also had to learn how to kindle a fire. To accomplish this they used as a drill the stem of a weed called hassala'po ("plant-with-which-to-make-fire") which is like sassafras and the wood of a tree called bȧksa (bass) for a base stick.

Traveling inland, they established their village near a river and lived there for a long time. Presently they came in contact with the Choctaw and warred against them, almost destroying one Choctaw town, so that the Choctaw became disheartened and wanted to make peace. For this purpose they selected a poor man, promising that, if he were successful, they would give him the two daughters of a certain prominent woman. They gave him a white deerskin shirt and white deerskin leggings and moccasins, put a string of white beads about his neck and a rattle in his hand.

Thus provided, the man crossed to the first Alabama village shaking his rattle and singing as he went. When the Alabama heard him they came out, took hold of him, and accompanied him back. On coming near the town they raised him on their backs and entered the place in this manner, singing continually. They set him down and he talked to them for a long time, laying down one string of white beads as he did so. Then he set out for another village, accompanied as before. On the way one of them seized a gun and shot under him. Another ran toward him and discharged a gun near

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Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Letter of Transmittal iii
  • Contents v
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians 1
  • Creek Stories 2
  • Hitchiti Stories 87
  • Alabama Stories 118
  • Koasati Stories 166
  • Natchez Stories 214
  • Comparison of Myths 267
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